Please help me to understand The 50% rule!

9:26 AM, Sunday May 10th 2020

So in lesson 0 we learn that if we want to use Drawabox as it's intended we should follow 50% rule. To spend not less than half of our drawing time on drawing without aiming on the result (I will call it fisrt half here). And to spend not more than half of our drawing time on learning, improving and applying (I will call it second half here). Cool, but I'm confused.

My confusion lies in that I don't get what defines these halfs. Uncomfortable uses diffents word to describe the same half. Like with first half he associates things like fun, process-driven, fearless ("Draw the things you'd draw if you were the most skilled artist in the world"). But they don't (fully) overlap (at least I don't see them that way). I see these as different criteria. They produce different results when I try to place particular drawing activities in a specific half.

For example


Making a finished piece. Some clear finished product. Full blown Illustaration, comic, etc. It might be for selling or gifting. It might be due to personal reasons.

There are definetely some projects that will feel fun and some that won't. It might be fun to produce it or fun to consume it afterward or BOTH.

Yet such activity is definetely result driven.

Such work can be within our comfort zone or we might fear doing it ("I'm not ready la la la").


Practicing at drawing some particular object or category of objects. Without any external study structure (courses, lessons, etc). Simply observing (or maybe not even observing) an object. Drawing it. And so learining how to draw it.

It might be enjoyable, it might not.

It might be done as a part of exploration process ot it might be done purely to improve, fast (result).

Depending on how rigorous such practice it might be within or out of one's comfort zone.

So what separates first and second halves?

Is it enjoyment? Whether we enjoy drawing it (having fun)?

Is it process/result focus? Whether we hope (wish) to make something good (pretty, meaningful, profound or however one defines "good result")?

Is it bravery? Whether we care about (fear) whether we are ready to draw it or not?

I hope I'm making sense here. Please help!

5 users agree
7:33 PM, Sunday May 10th 2020

It's much simpler than all that. Basically, the "first half" has nothing to do with any kind of a lasting result. No physical end-product, nothing to gift or sell or look at fawningly afterwards. Nor any skills improved. I mean, these things may happen, but that should not be your goal or intent.

There is only one point in this - to learn how to draw without having any expectations of the end result. To allow yourself to aim high and fail without having to feel crushed by it.

To that end, if you're drawing specifically to give something as a gift, or to do a commission, then that doesn't fit the bill - the results matter in those cases. It really just needs to be drawing for the sake of drawing. Take risks, draw the things that interest you, but don't expect them to be useful for anything. Some people talk about wanting to draw comics, so I'd tell them, go ahead - but expect that you'll probably have to redraw those pages later.

At the end of the day, it's all about learning how to manage expectations and disappointment, and not to actively avoid the pain of something not coming out the way you'd want it to. It takes practice and exposure to develop resistance to those kinds of motivation-sapping inevitabilities.

2:36 PM, Tuesday May 12th 2020

It bothers me because I think that it's totally fine to wish for a good end-result when you draw, and even when aiming high and above your skill level. When one knows that improvement IS inevitable a wish for a good end-result is another force that keeps one on drawing again and again, regardless of failures. Well when we aim and above our skill level I do think that such wish should by no means be a priority, yet I don't see a need to eliminate it...

But overall I agree. Thanks

12:48 AM, Tuesday May 19th 2020

The problem that Comfy wants to try and eliminate is when people get hung up on something looking good or not. If your primary goal is to have a piece that looks good, then what do you do when they only thing you can make looks bad?

Many people give up at that stage and it's such a shame, so like Comfy has said here, learning to live with something that happens to look bad that was drawn anyway is really important.

1:58 PM, Saturday May 23rd 2020

Yeah, it's important not to fixate on excellence. Currently I separate halves by asking whether I intend a particular drawing to be evaluated (by me or someone else).

5:38 AM, Friday October 9th 2020

Please, should references be used for this 50%, or is it supposed to be all from imagination? I know I’m not supposed to care about the results, but when I tried using references I felt like I was just mindlessly copying the outlines, and from imagination, I realized I had not idea what anything actually looked like I wanted to draw (even things I’ve drawn from reference before). I read you saying it will be frustrating and hard at first, and thank you so much for the freedom of drawing like a child again and drawing all the things we want to draw but feel we’re not ready for yet; I know I need this breakthrough and time bisection as I obviously have a lot of resistance and experience misery where should be fun.

7:48 PM, Saturday October 10th 2020

The way I look at these things, I feel that anything that is done strictly from a single piece of reference, with the intent of replicating that reference, is a study (and therefore belongs in the same 50% as the rest of the Drawabox work, as an exercise done to learn/improve).

You can however use multiple pieces of reference to help as you draw something of your own ("from your imagination"), and that would count towards the 50% of drawing just for the sake of drawing.

8:54 PM, Saturday October 10th 2020

Thank you, Uncomfortable!

0 users agree
12:11 PM, Sunday May 10th 2020

I wondered about this myself, then decided I was overthinking it. So I made a basic separation: 50% goes towards learning, 50% to everything else. So whether I'm doodling or working on a project, any activity that isn't explicitely about learning technique, theory or soft skills goes into the other half.

I'm not great yet at enforcing this, but there is already more structure to my learning than I've had before. I figure it's best to throw as much time as you reasonably can to learning, because once you have success you'll struggle to find time to learn. And the 50/50 rule seems very reasonable, at least this early in my development.

12:41 PM, Sunday May 10th 2020

Yeah that's how I approached it as well. But then thoughts like "I'm doodling but I repeat same doodles trying to see how I can improve them. So what am I doing now..?" made me write this post. Uh

Thanks though

8:19 AM, Monday May 11th 2020
edited at 8:20 AM, May 11th 2020

Well, doodling is not a single activity. You can doodle for different reasons. When I do character design, I doodle characters towards some basic descriptions. If I'm trying to construct a scene, I doodle different compositions.

Likewise, you can doodle for educational purposes. But then I think it should be focused and with specific outcomes in mind. For example, I'm working on basic shapes, so I might doodle for 30 minutes using basic shapes as my foundation. But if I deviate and just doodle anything, I'd miss the point. Also, if I doodle while watching TV, that isn't focused and thus also misses the point.

So, whatever the activity, I want to to be focused on an educational need and with an outcome that brings me closer to that need. It's not about repetition. If the activity doesn't fit into that description, it belongs in the other 50%.

edited at 8:20 AM, May 11th 2020
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